Outdoor Ministry

Where the Creator and creation pray, play, and wonder together

Summer Events

Join us for any or all of the one-day events we have planned in the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota!

Senior Graduate Day
Wednesday, August 4, 9:00 am- 2:00 pm
Hidden Falls Park, St. Paul

All high school graduates from 2020 and 2021 are invited to Hidden Falls Park in St. Paul to reconnect with friends, play a few games, and share a meal.

MNIPL – Be the Spark!
Thursday, August 5, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
United Church of Christ, New Brighton
$20/person or $40/family

Be the Spark is a dynamic and experiential leadership development workshop that builds community and gives participants organizing tools and strategic approaches for engaging their community of faith in climate change solutions. Be the Spark participants learn how to invite the gifts and skills of those in their community to take action that inspires a sustained and creative effort in building a more just and sustainable world.

Appropriate for ages 12 and up. Lunch and refreshments provided.

Organic Farm Tour
Saturday, August 7, 10:00 am- 2:00 pm
Auntie Annie’s Fields, Northfield
$20/person or $40/family

Visit a local family organic farm in the Northfield area, owned and operated by the O’Sullivan family. Learn more about what it means to run a family farm—economically, spiritually, socially—and the practical pitfalls and joys. Elizabeth, a United Theological Seminary student, and her family will give a hands-on discussion about why they decided to farm. Be prepared to do a little “farming” while you are there.

This is open to all ages. A light lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Rest and Renew at Green Island
Sunday, August 8, 1:00 pm- 6:00 pm
Green Island Preserve, Wadena
$20/person or $40/family

Experience this unique opportunity to relax and meditate on the beautifully maintained paths of this old family farm that has transitioned into an oasis for contemplation and connection with Mother Earth. Stroll through the 30 acres of trees and sculptures. Meditate in the kuti, check out the amazing garden, and join the discussion with owner Kent Scheer as he talks about reimagining this old family farm into a place where conservation and spiritual practice intertwine.

First Congregational UCC of Wadena donated the materials used to create a campfire space, where the day will end with a light meal and s’mores. There is space for those who would like to bring a tent and camp overnight. Please contact Sheri Nelson if you would like more information: sherin@uccmn.org.

This is open to all ages.

Fall Outdoor Ministry Events

Due to requirements of our host sites, we must adhere to the registration deadlines listed on each event page. If you try to register after the deadline, we cannot guarantee lodging availability or accommodation for specific dietary needs or requests.

Your health and safety remain our top priorities, and we will continue to examine, modify, and communicate policies in accordance with most current science-based recommendations from the CDC and MDH, along with requirements from event sites.

Hemp and Food Health Day: Saturday, September 11

  • Cotter Farm, Austin | 9:30 am–2:30 pm
  • Cost: $15/person + $5 to ride the bus from Falcon Heights UCC church parking lot.
  • REGISTER by September 3

Tom Cotter and friends invite you to join them for a day on the Cotter Farm to learn more about the science of hemp farming and production, soil conservation, and natural growing methods that can be used in gardens big and tiny. Read more

Women’s Wilderness Retreat: September 24–26

  • Camp Amnicon
  • $200/ person
  • Age requirement 21+. This has a maximum of 14 participants so act quickly.
  • REGISTER by September 10

Take a break from the chaos and stress of daily life, and unplug into adventure! Each day will bring a different kind of adventure while we hike and paddle on the South Shore of Lake Superior. Each evening you’ll enjoy gourmet foods and beverages around the fire. Read more

Men’s Retreat – Overwhelmed by Life: An Invitation to Reconnect and Remember
September 24–26 (start time 4:00 pm, end time 11 am)

  • Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center, Sandstone
  • $200 (actual cost of event), $150 subsidized price, $100 subsidized with added scholarship, or contact Rev. Sheri Nelson for more scholarship funding (there is an extra $25/ night for single rooms, limited to the first four requests)
  • REGISTER by September 10
  • Participation maximum is 15

Join other men from around the Minnesota Conference for a weekend to pause amid the chaos and overwhelm of life. The retreat will be co-facilitated by Rev. Kevin Brown, Associate Conference Minister for Faith Formation, and Hans Peterson. Read more

Women’s Retreat: October 15–17 (start time 4:00 pm, end time 11 am)

  • Camp Onomia, Onamia
  • $200 (actual cost of event), $150 subsidized price, $100 subsidized with added scholarship, or contact Rev. Sheri Nelson for more scholarship funding. There is an extra $25/night for a single room, limited to the first four requests.
  • Participation maximum is 30, so REGISTER early.

Set amongst the trees and Lake Shakopee, this retreat will be a time of rest and renewal as Rev. Sheri Nelson and Rev. Claire Klein bring inspiring music and conversation around the wisdom of women and power of equity through the circle of gender.

Conference Youth Event: October 8-10 (start time 5 pm, end time 11 am; no dinner served first night)
  • Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center, Sandstone
  • $100/youth, $75/adult leader (Some scholarship money is available upon request. Contact Rev. Sheri Nelson for more information).
  • REGISTER by September 24.
  • Open to all youth grades 6-12 and adult leaders
  • Creation Justice Series

Creation Justice Series

Over four Zoom events, talented speakers presented on different environmental topics for individuals, families, and congregations.

Planetary Health- Co-Creating a Better Future for All
April 22, 7:00-8:30 pm
Presenter: Teddie M. Potter, PhD, RN, FAAN

What do COVID-19, structural racism, and the devastating wildfires in the western United States have in common? They are all symptoms of a planet in multi-system failure. But it is not too late for all of us to work together to co-create a healthier future. Learn more

“Kiss the Ground” documentary discussion with Rep. Todd Lippert and the Land Stewardship Project
April 10, 10-11:30 am

Right now, soil might be the last thing on your mind. But when the future of our planet and humankind is at stake, nothing may be more important than regenerating the ground beneath us. We’re in need of a kind of hope we’ve never felt before. “Kiss the Ground” unveils a game-changer to our climate crisis: the Earth’s own soil. Learn more

What is Permaculture?
March 18, 7:00-8:30 pm

Heidi Morlock and Hans Peterson related stories of experimenting for 20 years with permaculture principles and sustainable agriculture at both the garden and farm scale.

How Then Shall We Live? Putting Faith Values into Earth Practice
February 18, 7:00- 8:30 pm

Christian faith like other religions calls us to live in harmony with the planet and peace with one another. But how exactly do we do that in our daily lives in the society in which we live? How do we choose our next steps amid the myriad of “green” options? Learn more

The Green Awakening: Churches and Environmental Justice Today
January 14, 7:00-8:30 pm
Presenter: Rev. Brooks Berndt

In the 1730s and 40s, Christian revivalism caught hold as the First Great Awakening swept through the colonies and ultimately formed part of our UCC heritage. The next Great Awakening will be a Green Awakening, and the UCC can play a significant role in leading it. Learn more

© Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ | 2021